Regions Bank profitable at end of 2010

Augusta's fourth largest bank

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Regions Financial Corp. reported a return to a fourth-quarter profit today.

The Alabama-based bank reported net income of $36 million, or 3 cents per share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31. Regions reported a loss of $606 million, or 51 cents per share, in the same quarter a year earlier as the bank booked a loss on the sale of investment securities.

In the latest quarter, Regions' profit was boosted by $333 million in securities gains.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected a loss of 13 cents per share in the latest quarter. Regions did not report an adjusted profit figure to exclude the one-time securities sale. That type of action is typically excluded by analysts when they formulate their estimates.

However, Regions did say that its provision for loan losses was $682 million, down 42 percent from the year-ago quarter. Non-performing assets and delinquencies fell for the third consecutive quarter.

Net interest income, or earnings from deposits and loans, rose 3 percent to $877 million from $850 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

Non-interest income, or money earned from fees and charges, jumped nearly 69 percent to $1.21 billion from $718 million. That increase was driven by the $333 million in securities gains, as well as a $26 million gain related to a sale of residential mortgage loans, and $59 million in leveraged lease termination gains.

For the full year, Regions reported a loss of 62 cents per share, compared with a loss of $1.27 per share in 2009.

Regions is the fourth largest bank in the Augusta area by market share.

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